We human beings are strange animals. Very few of us would rob someone at gunpoint, but many, if not most of us, would stand by while the working poor are robbed systematically every day of their lives.

It is possible that the good people at Marriott were counting on this glitch in human ethics when they signed an agreement to pay fair wages to Austin laborers. In most cities, Marriott would be right to assume that the politicians would be so afraid of losing the donations of the rich they would be willing to sell out the rights of the poor. In most cities, Marriott could assume that the citizens would be so busy living their own lives that no one would speak when the working poor are robbed yet again.

But guess what? We are in Austin, Texas. And things are a little different here. The biblical prophets said that the health of a city could be measured by how they treat its most vulnerable members. We are here as a thermometer to say the ethical health of Austin Texas is just fine. The word “Texas” means “friendly,” but there are two aspects to that friendliness. First it means that Marriott is welcome to come to Austin and build a hotel. But it also means, if Marriot robs our hard working neighbors through wage theft, they will have stirred a hornet’s nest right here in Austin, Texas.